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Putin joins Trump as Nobel Peace Prize candidate, report says

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Russian leader Vladimir Putin has reportedly joined President Donald Trump as a dark horse candidate for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.According to Newsweek, the state-owned Russian news agency Tass made the announcement and insisted the Russian government wasn’t responsible for nominating its own strongman.A collective of Russian public figures including writer Sergey Komkov were reportedly behind Putin’s nomination. It’s unclear what the former KGB agent — who annexed a neighboring country, is credibly accused of tampering in U.S. elections and has seen his adversaries poisoned — was nominated …

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COVID-19 causes some patients’ immune systems to attack their own bodies — and can worsen the illness

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Across the world, immunologists who retooled their labs to join the fight against SARS-CoV-2 are furiously trying to explain why some people get so sick while others recover unscathed. The pace is dizzying, but some clear trends have emerged.

One area of focus has been the production of antibodies – powerful proteins capable of disabling and killing invading pathogens like viruses. Of great concern has been the sporadic identification of so-called autoreactive antibodies that, instead of targeting disease causing microbes, target the tissues of individuals suffering from severe cases of COVID-19.

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COVID-19

Pope to celebrate Christmas without congregation: report

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Pope Francis will have to forego meeting Catholics at the annual Advent and Christmas masses in the Vatican owing to the resurgent coronavirus pandemic, the specialist Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported on Monday.

The 83-year-old pontiff was deprived of a congregation at Easter when he had to celebrate mass at Saint Peter's with very few people present.

In a letter to foreign envoys to the Vatican, its foreign minister informed them that Christmas ceremonies would take "a private form" this year.

Members of the diplomatic corps would not be present, and events would be made available online, a document seen by CNA said.

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COVID-19

AstraZeneca, Oxford University buoyed by vaccine response

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British pharma giant AstraZeneca said on Monday trials of its coronavirus vaccine pioneered with Oxford University had shown "encouraging" responses among elderly, as well as younger participants.

The potential vaccine, one of 10 around the world in the most advanced phase III of trials, showed "strong immune responses" in all adult groups during the previous stage, according to an update from Oxford.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said the initial results "further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity" of its experimental vaccine.

"It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults, the spokesman added.

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